Fall. Times to restock the supplies, restore the verve for new projects, resolve to make more, do more and be more in the weeks that close out the year.

One way to restock is to look at paper, ink cartridges, printers, and anything else that is mechanical. All mechanical things have an unsettling way of knowing when to break down. Does the attorney need papers scanned in? That’s when the scanner goes haywire. Does the attorney have a trial coming up? That’s when the color printer for exhibits crashes. Does the paralegal have time to enter? That’s when the database that captures time for the attorney goes haywire. Does the courthouse have a date set for a trial? That’s when a clerk signs up too many cases to too many judges and the case the firm was gearing up for gets moved into the future. Sigh.

So what is a firm to do? The simple answer is to review all the possible things that can break down. In our case, this is quite simple. Do the scanners work? Check. Do the printers work? Check. Does the database work? Check. Can we stop case assignment mistakes? No, we can’t. But we can check online and monitor when our case comes up, who the judge is and what courtroom is assigned.

Another way to restock is less material and more practical. Plan ahead. Plot out those hearings and trials, briefs and research. Plan the motions and depositions. Hook up the G.P.S. Find the numbers to call to see if the State snow plows have cleared a path to court. If the snowplows in your neck of the woods are unreliable, locate and reserve hotel rooms online to be absolutely sure to get to the court on time. Get tire chains, heavy winter coats and any other winter gear and put them into the truck of your car. Check your tire pressure and fluids weekly in the cold months. Don’t forget the jumper cables either.

November is nature’s way of telling you that humans are not in control. Nature is. Man may propose solutions, but nature will dispose of you if you are not prepared.

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